Paul Waldman

Paul Waldman is a contributing editor for the Prospect and the author of Being Right is Not Enough: What Progressives Must Learn From Conservative Success.

Recent Articles

It's Not Easy Being Green.

Coal-powered vehicle? (Flickr/ jurvetson ) Two things for you to contemplate: First, Scientific American gives us "The Dirty Truth About Plug-In Hybrids," which shows you how, depending on where you live, switching to a plug-in vehicle might actually increase your carbon emissions (compared to a regular gas-electric hybrid, that is). That's because much of that electricity is probably coming from coal. The interactive map shows that it's particularly bad in parts of the Midwest but a better deal for the climate in the Northwest, California, Florida, and Texas. Just a reminder that shifting to an electric fleet only solves part of the fossil-fuel problem. From what comes out of your tailpipe to what goes into your mouth: "If you're a typical westerner, you ate nearly 100 kilograms of meat last year." That provocative sentence begins this article in the New Scientist on why going to an all-veggie world, or even a free-range world, would be awfully difficult. Not much breaking news there...

WSJ on the Lookout for Health-Care Commies.

Let's say you're an opinion writer, and you really, really want to write that Donald Berwick , the new head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services, is a communist. Sure, he's not actually a communist , but why should that stop you? You can try taking some remarks he made about Britain's National Health Service out of context to falsely portray him as a lover of everything you don't like about the NHS, but that only gets you so far. Well, how about Cuba? Sure, Berwick has never actually said anything about Cuba's health-care system that would indicate he thinks it tells us anything at all about what course reform should take in America. But Fidel Castro is a jerk! And Michael Moore praised Cuba's health-care system, and he's a jerk too! Isn't that a good enough basis to say that Donald Berwick wants to turn our system into something like Cuba's? It is, apparently, if you're The Wall Street Journal . Bret Stephens , one of the Journal 's opinion writers, gives us this in his...

Things That Will Get You Fired From Your Job in Journalism.

We've been hearing a lot of those lately, from inconvenient tweeting to being mean to Matt Drudge in private e-mails. But here's a good one, Romanesko : a few people working for KARK, an NBC affiliate in Little Rock, were fired after they made a video spoofing the life of a local TV reporter. In the video, reporter Pete Thompson complains about his crappy job and hopes to get a better one in Miami. "It was hot as shit outside," he says in a voice-over. "At least in Miami they have beaches. And good coke." Eventually, he begins a stream of invective about how awful it is having to do things like interview idiots at the Malvern Brick Festival before finding some bricks to shoot for B-roll, until he finally slaps an interviewee. Part 2 is more about this guy than about how awful it is to be a TV reporter, but they're both pretty profane (you can watch the videos here ). The station would seem to have a right to be upset that it was shot in their facilities, but if they had shot it...

Home Computing Machines: Will They Succeed?

(Flickr/ Marcin Wichary ) As you debate whether to toss your year-old phone and get yourself a snappy new iPhone (look at that screen!) or a Droid X (a 1-gigahertz processor!), take a moment to think about how far we've come. In that spirit, take a moment to read this awesome article from 1982 in The Atlantic , written by James Fallows . Always an early adopter, Fallows got himself one of those new-fangled word-processing devices for a mere $4,000. After replacing a missing fuse (they had fuses?), he gets the thing up and running, and finds his writing transformed: When I sit down to write a letter or start the first draft of an article, I simply type on the keyboard and the words appear on the screen. For six months, I found it awkward to compose first drafts on the computer. Now I can hardly do it any other way. It is faster to type this way than with a normal typewriter, because you don't need to stop at the end of the line for a carriage return (the computer automatically "wraps"...

McCain Worship Never Dies.

I often decry the cynicism of the press corps -- heck, I did it in my last post -- but allow me to make the case for some more cynicism in one particular case. Today, Slate editor Jacob Weisberg , long a big fan of Sen. John McCain , washes his hands of the former presidential candidate, while still managing to fit in his column nearly all the tropes that made coverage of McCain so maddening for so many years. There's the gratuitous mention of McCain's POW past, lest we forget for a moment that what McCain endured 40 years ago makes him more honorable than the rest of us. There's the repetition of descriptions like "gutsy" and "independent," in explaining how McCain has always been such a lovable rogue. There's the assumption throughout that when McCain was acting in ways the author likes, that was the "true" McCain, and when he was being an opportunistic, pandering, flip-flopping politician -- in other words, acting the way journalists believe most politicians act -- that was a false...

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